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Good Eats

Brown Bagging on a Budget and Keeping it Healthy, Too

Jan 14th, 2013

By Kimberly L, Budget-Conscious Administrative Assistant

These days it seems that we are all trying to save a buck wherever we can, and who knew that bringing your lunch to work every day can save you over ,300/year! This year we have 261 work days, and if you were to go out to buy your lunch every one of those days, that foot-long would really take a toll on your wallet! Well, here are some easy ideas to keep your lunchtime budget both healthy and delicious.

Make more and spend less.  When preparing dinner the night before, make extra to bring for lunch the next day. Leftovers make the perfect food to pack for lunch during your workweek, especially when you can control your own portion sizes. Why not make enough for the entire week?

Buy more and spend less.  Many low-fat frozen dinners have sales where you buy more and save on the cost of the individual item. For example, you might be able to get 5 frozen dinners for 0. With a cost of per item, you’re set for the rest of the week! Also, don’t forget to keep your eye out for those BOGO sales. There’s nothing better than the Buy One Get One free deal!

Don’t forget the to-go box.  When you are eating out, don’t forget to ask for a to-go box to take any leftovers home. These leftovers make for a great lunch the next day and save time too because they require no preparation on your part. If you don’t usually have leftovers, make a healthy change to start putting half your meal in a to-go box ahead of time.  Restaurant portions are big enough and are usually equivalent to 2 or 3 healthy servings on one plate.

A can of soup is a meal in itself.  Don’t underestimate the deliciousness of a hearty can of soup.  Not only does canned soup come in a vast variety of healthy recipes and flavors, but it’s the kind of lunch that travels well and doesn’t require any refrigeration. Throw a couple of cans in your drawer at work so when you are in a pinch and don’t have time to prepare a lunch; you know you have a hot meal waiting for you at your office.

The trusty sandwich never gets old.  We all know that the sandwich is a lunchtime staple and an old friend for most of us who used to bring sack lunches to elementary school. Well, they still make a great, healthy lunch for anyone, and when considering the cost, it’s a budget-friendly meal you cannot deny. Did you know that peanut butter (reduced-fat still tastes good!) and jelly sandwiches cost less than to make? And if you’re not in the mood for that, you can make a delicious gourmet deli sandwich. If you buy a pound of deli meat at a pound, a loaf of bread on sale for , and some veggies to go with it that cost you about (lettuce, tomato and/or avocado), you can get about five delicious sandwiches out of that, which is about a lunch.  What a bargain!

Easy, budget-friendly and health-conscious lunch ideas for work actually do exist. Try a few of these simple strategies for yourself and see if you notice a difference in your wallet at the end of the month.  Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to get that new iPad sooner than you thought!


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